When I was a freshman in college, the most exotic meal I tried was blackened catfish. I had never heard of, let alone tasted, anything so vigorously seasoned at that point in my life. It was cooked by our token Southern professor, who probably got a real kick out of watching us dairy-fed Midwesterners poke at the dark slabs of fish, hoping it wouldn't burn our mouths too terribly. I loved it, and that was my introduction to the magical world of Southern dishes.
I still love blackened seasoning, but I don't do the ten pounds of butter or the frying so much. I also think catfish is kind of a pain, with all those stupid bones to pick around. So, here's a quick, healthy, and easy way to try to recapture some of the weird wonderfulness that was Dr. Hearne's blackened catfish back in 1993. You'll excuse me, I hope, if it's not as authentic as a Paula Deen recipe, but I promise it won't give you diabetes.
Blackened Broiled Tilapia
1 pound tilapia fillets
olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
In a medium bowl, combine all blackening ingredients thoroughly.
Line a broiler pan with foil and add 2 T olive oil. Brush it over the foil in any area that will have fish.
Rinse and pat dry 1 pound of tilapia. Brush with olive oil. Cover the fillets with the spices and rub it in (both sides).
Place fish on broiler pan, then broil about 4 inches from heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.